Grease star Olivia Newton-John dies aged 73

The legendary star of the film “Grease” alongside John Travolta, actress Olivia Newton-John, has died at the age of 73, her husband announced on Monday. Primarily a singer, she has also enjoyed great success with her country and pop albums.

Olivia Newton-John “passed away peacefully this morning at their Southern California ranch surrounded by family and friends,” her husband’s statement said on social media. She had battled breast cancer for 30 years.

Sporting varnished hair and leather jackets, the British-born Australian singer-actress broke the silver screen by starring opposite John Travolta in the 1978 musical Grease as Sandy Olson.

“My dear Olivia, you have made our lives better. Your influence has been incredible. I love you so much,” the ‘Pulp Fiction’ actor replied in a statement.

>> An excerpt from “Grease” starring Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta:

>> The large format on the topic “Grease”: The worldwide success of “Grease”

A 30-year battle against cancer

Ever since the cancer struck her in her 40s — breast cancer and mastectomy in 1992, then two recurrences with metastases in 2013 and 2017 — the star has dedicated all her energies and fame to fighting the disease.

“Olivia has been a beacon of triumph and hope for 30 years in sharing her experience with breast cancer,” her husband wrote, adding that a fund has been set up in her name to fund research into plants, drugs and cancer , the “Olivia Newton-John Endowment Fund”.

A consecrated singer

Queen Elizabeth II, born in Cambridge on September 26, 1948, with the title “Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire”, is the granddaughter of the German physicist Max Born, whose work on quantum theory was crowned with the Nobel Prize. His father fought in the British armed forces during World War II and was involved in the arrest of Rudolf Hess.

Nicknamed “Livvy,” she was just five years old when her family moved to the antipodes of Melbourne, Australia. With her passion for music, she won a local singing competition at the age of 16. Her mother urges her to pursue her talent and they both go back to England. First singles, first successes. In 1974 she represented Great Britain in the Eurovision Song Contest and finished fourth but lost behind…Abba.

Then on to California, where she made a name for herself on the country and western scene. The Anglo-Australian has even been named “The Most Popular Female Singer in the United States” twice and won a Grammy Award beating Queen Dolly Parton.

A short film career

Crowned by his success in “Saturday Night Fever,” John Travolta blows his name for “Grease.” Released in 1978, the film was an instant hit worldwide. In France, it has 6 million visitors, more than “Les Demoiselles de Rochefort” or “West Side Story”. Everyone hums “Summer Nights” and “You’re The One That I Want”.

>> The travel program on the subject of “Grease”:

Smear / Tracking / 55 min. / 08/12/2020

Despite this worldwide success, Olivia Newton-John did not continue her momentum in the cinema for long. After a few films, she devoted herself mainly to singing and her Californian ranch, where she lived surrounded by animals. She released around forty country and pop-rock albums – including “Physical,” a huge hit in 1981 – and performed hundreds of concerts around the world.

In her fight against cancer, she founded the Olivia Newton-John Foundation, closely followed the progress of research, raised funds and was interested in alternative treatments. “I am fortunate to be married to a wonderful man who is very knowledgeable about medicinal plants. He grows medicinal cannabis for me,” she told People magazine in February 2021.


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